Sacraments and Postcolonial Planetarity
Reimagining the Sacramental Signature of All Things in the Era of Environmental Degradation
As we face ecological crisis and the growing resentment of convoluted globalization, sacramental imagination and liturgical practices harbor the most prophetic and hopeful resource for resistance and transformation in the global postcolony that Christian spiritual tradition has to offer. Sacramentality, however, is not just a matter of aesthetics or practical theology: today, to be transformative is has to boldly reclaim its metaphysical latitude and its theopolitical efficacy. Postcolonial and decolonial insights on planetarity and pluriversal ontology challenge sacramental theology to creatively mine its own rich treasury of wisdom. Yet they also challenge to make a commitment to recognize and repent of its entanglements with the colonial logic of war, globalized patriarchy, and ever tempting cultural imperialism. As we brave the age of lies and writhe under yoke of the postmodern empires of anxiety, postcolonial ethical exigencies can find their theological fulfillment – as well as doing our bit toward thwarting “the Great Derangement” (Amitav Ghosh) – through finding hope and empowerment for righteous and life-giving action by indwelling a sacramental pluriverse. This kind of pluriverse transcends the debates on the numbers of sacraments and juridical conditions of their validity. Rather, it resonates in multiple rhythms and melodies. To body forth such a pluriverse, nothing less than a profound reexamination of the Western sacramental imagination might be sufficient.
Rev. Dr. Kristine Suna-Koro is Associate Professor of Theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH, USA. She is a Latvian-American diasporic theologian working at the intersection of postcolonialism, liturgical and sacramental studies as well as migration and diaspora discourses. She teaches in field of modern historical theology at Xavier and is the author of “In Counterpoint: Diaspora, Postcoloniality, and Sacramental Theology” (Pickwick, 2017) as well as numerous articles and book chapters. She currently serves as the convener of the Critical Theories and Liturgical Studies seminar at the North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL). As a Lutheran pastor she has served the diasporic Latvian Lutheran communities in Great Britain, Germany, and the United States.